Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent Season....

For those like me, you may not have ever heard of CCDA (Christian Community Development Association). I was given a "must read this" book called Grace Matters. AMAZING memoir of a white guy abandoning a traditional college life to transplant himself with a few  volunteers of a ministry in an inner-city neighborhood, and yes a "whitey" in an all black hood. I feel the freedom to say that because I work in the hood. This year I've been grasping at straws trying to relate to the kids I teach art to at school. How to love them? How to speak to them? How to "blend" into their culture? No doubt, Christ's love tears down barriers,fears, and differences that might otherwise hinder progress, but there are cultural norms that have to be learned. Things like "where you stay?"(where do you live) or "you ain't my boo"(i don't like you), and even "soul food" (greens,hot wings, cornbread, and more hot wings). So much more that I've picked up, but I'll spare you. My point is Grace Matters "speaks my language". All the struggles and racial tensions are discussed and real life situations in ministry that I can relate to all at once. It has stretched my vision for community and for the poor, and yes, my future. Hebrews 13{"Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured"} is explicit about living and loving and taking care of the poor. If you go on to read verses 14-16; it may begin to make sense of what I mean. It's like the Great Commission, "go, therefore and make disciples". Jesus doesn't ever say, "wait around until someone at your church needs you or they toss out a need for the poor". At Redeemer Community Church I'm learning about seeing Christ in all of the Bible, and all Christ's teachings that point to a "distinct & unique" community, and mainly the cross. Am I working among the poor with joy? Do I realize the weight of the call to love them? I can't wait to finish this book and pass it around to my friends, hoping they too will be inspired to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind." Deut. 6:5

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